We’ve all seen the incredible and devastating impacts of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. Whether we have seen pictures on the news or were there to witness the storms first hand, the entire country is well aware of the damage these storms left behind. One Texas man was afraid his home would be destroyed during this hurricane season so he decided to prepare his home in advance.
Randy Wagner spent $8,300 buying 400 feet of plastic material he was planning to use to protect his home. Randy lives in Rosharon, Texas and was terrified of his home flooding. His friends and neighbors thought he was crazy spending that much money on this plastic, not to mention the countless hours he spent putting it up.
Randy used the 400 feet of plastic to build a barrier which was actually able to hold the water back so that it didn’t to reach his house. The plastic surrounded the entire perimeter of his home and the walls were up to 30 feet tall in some areas. Everyone laughed at him, but when the wind, rain, and flooding began to devastate Texas, they realized that Randy wasn’t crazy, he was actually genius. Randy may have spent $8,300 on the plastic and installation process, but he saved about $150,000 in damages and house repairs that would have been necessary if he hadn’t taken precautions.
Basic Hurricane Preparedness Tips
Know where to go. If you are ordered to evacuate, know the local hurricane evacuation route(s) to take and have a plan for where you can stay. Contact your local emergency management agency for more information. Put together a go-bag: disaster supply kit, including a flashlight, batteries, cash, first aid supplies, medications, and copies of your critical information if you need to evacuate. If you are not in an area that is advised to evacuate and you decide to stay in your home, plan for adequate supplies in case you lose power and water for several days and you are not able to leave due to flooding or blocked roads. Make a family emergency communication plan. Many communities have text or email alerting systems for emergency notifications. To find out what alerts are available in your area, search the Internet with your town, city, or county name and the word “alerts.”
Preparing Your Home
Hurricane winds can cause trees and branches to fall, so before hurricane season trim or remove damaged trees and limbs to keep you and your property safe. Secure loose rain gutters and downspouts and clear any clogged areas or debris to prevent water damage to your property. Reduce property damage by retrofitting to secure and reinforce the roof, windows and doors, including the garage doors. Purchase a portable generator or install a generator for use during power outages. Remember to keep generators and other alternate power/heat sources outside, at least 20 feet away from windows and doors and protected from moisture; and NEVER try to power the house wiring by plugging a generator into a wall outlets. Consider building a “FEME safe room” or “ICC 500 storm shelter” designed for protection from high-winds and in locations above flooding levels.
What to do when a hurricane is 6 hours from arriving
If you’re not in an area that is recommended for evacuation, plan to stay at home or where you are and let friends and family know where you are. Close storm shutters, and stay away from windows. Flying glass from broken windows could injure you. Turn your refrigerator or freezer to the coldest setting and open only when necessary. If you lose power, food will last longer. Keep a thermometer in the refrigerator to be able to check the food temperature when the power is restored. Turn on your TV/radio, or check your city/county website every 30 minutes in order to get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.
What to do when a hurricane is 6-18 hours from arriving
Turn on your TV/radio, or check your city/county website every 30 minutes in order to get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions. Charge your cell phone now so you will have a full battery in case you lose power.
What to do when a hurricane is 18-36 hours from arriving
Bookmark your city or county website for quick access to storm updates and emergency instructions. Bring loose, lightweight objects inside that could become projectiles in high winds (e.g., patio furniture, garbage cans); anchor objects that would be unsafe to bring inside (e.g., propane tanks); and trim or remove trees close enough to fall on the building. Cover all of your home’s windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8” exterior grade or marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install.
What to do when a hurricane is 36 hours from arriving
Turn on your TV or radio in order to get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions. Build or restock your emergency preparedness kit. Include food and water sufficient for at least three days, medications, a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies. Plan how to communicate with family members if you lose power. For example, you can call, text, email or use social media. Remember that during disasters, sending text messages is usually reliable and faster than making phone calls because phone lines are often overloaded. Review your evacuation plan with your family. You may have to leave quickly so plan ahead. Keep your car in good working condition, and keep the gas tank full; stock your vehicle with emergency supplies and a change of clothes.
After a Hurricane
Listen to local officials for updates and instructions. Check-in with family and friends by texting or using social media. Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe. Watch out for debris and downed power lines. Avoid walking or driving through flood waters. Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down, and one foot of fast-moving water can sweep your vehicle away. Avoid flood water as it may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines and may hide dangerous debris or places where the ground is washed away. Photograph the damage to your property in order to assist in filing an insurance claim. Do what you can to prevent further damage to your property, (e.g., putting a tarp on a damaged roof), as insurance may not cover additional damage that occurs after the storm.
Join us in praying for those who lost loved ones and still suffering from recent hurricanes. Share this story to help others be prepared for the hurricanes and encourage them to stay safe during this hurricane season! God bless you and your family.